Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Angraecum breve

This tiny orchid is from Madagascar, a country that has some very unique and wonderful orchids.  It belongs to a group of orchids that have white and green flowers and very long spurs.  It is also fragrant, especially at night, which means it is pollinated by night-flying insects who are attracted by the fragrance and who use the nectar for food.


I am totally charmed by this plant, however, both for its size, for its white flowers and for the spur which gradually uncurls as the flower opens.  Most Angraecums are large plants and some are huge. This plant is a little fan 4 cm (1.5 in.) across, the flower is 3 cm (1 in. plus) in size and the spur is over 10 cm long (approx. 4.5 in.) when the flower opens and it is fully uncurled.




It was an Angraecum, a different species and a much larger plant, with flowers carrying a 12 inch spur, that Darwin used to predict the existence of a moth with a 12 inch tongue. This flower is probably also moth pollinated.  I've included pictures of the unopened bud with the spur curled up and a pictures taken as the flower opened and the spur uncurled.




9 comments:

  1. Wow, that's going on the wishlist! Thanks Ron, fantastic plant and as always, perfect photography. Have you seen the huge tome on this group? http://www.amazon.com/Angraecoid-Orchids-Species-African-Region/dp/0881927880 It's pretty great.

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    1. I haven't seen the book, James, but may have to see about getting it. This is a group of orchids I've always appreciated. Thanks for looking and commenting.

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  2. Ron this is a fabulous series, just as I was hoping. The photo with the suspended drop is priceless

    What a thill it would be to see in the wild with moth in on the action.

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    1. Thanks, Marti. It would be something to see the moth at work, but I have seen a video someone took of the larger moth predicted by Darwin at work on a flower. I'll have to see if I can find it.

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  3. Gone through your blog. useful for orchids identification. Following is my blog about Western Ghats, India. Bilingual blog (regional language tamil and English).
    http://nbranaikatti.blogspot.in/

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    1. Thanks for looking and for the comments. Am on my way to check out your bog.

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  4. Hi Ron,

    Your pictures are magnificent! It's worth mentioning that this species is quite different from the taxonomic description for Angræcum breve and so shouldn't be called by that name even though that is the name under which they've been imported over the past number of years. It's possible this miniature species represents a new taxon, probably closely related to Ang, urschianum.

    Aloha,
    Jacob Uluwehi Knecht

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    1. Hi Jacob. Nice to hear from you. If you look up the other post for this species you'll see that the necessary information is included there.

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  5. Hello! I was wondering if you could tell us your culture of this plant. What are the temperatures you have it growing it in, and does it have a dry rest? There is very little information for it online it seems.

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